Warning - Some posts may cause choking, spitting of beverage and /or a severe giggle fit. This advice brought to you by regular reader Louisa.

Saturday, 21 November 2009


*points at main picture* Yup, it's the preliminary sketch for the cover art of my NaNo novel, courtesy of my lovely friend Ana. Not only is Ana one of my most favorite people in the world, she channels me in so many ways that we could be sisters. A few years ago a bunch of us 're-wrote' the scripts from The Lord of the Rings movies (and when I say 're-wrote', I really mean we copied sections of the script and altered it to suit our own needs *shifty*). On one particular section, things got a little confused and both me and Ana wrote the next installment. Funny thing was, pretty much all of the alterations were the same thing, that's how similarly-minded we are. It was brilliant.

Anyway, digression aside, Ana really does channel me. Eleanor (my main character) is almost exactly like Ana's interpretation of her (except that her hair is a little more frizzy). But the best thing is the cat. I love that Ana placed Muse at the front, because Muse is pegged to be a recurring character in a mini series (which I think I mentioned before).

Why am I telling you this? Well, because I've decided to post the opening from my NaNo for today's blog (well, technically it is still Saturday, but I know I am going to be swamped tomorrow so I figured I'd post a couple of hours early).

So far I've had mixed feelings about my NaNo. Initially I thought it was the biggest pile of crap that I've ever written; by the time I hit 10k, I was feeling a bit better about it. When 20k was passed, I was excited, with ideas cropping up all over the place. Then I hit 30k, and the excitement dwindled and I started panicking, mostly because I thought it was pants all over again. I'm still up and down about it, to be truthful. I think there are several sections that have potential, but other parts are probably destined to be cut away and buried very deeply where no-one will ever find them. Still, at almost 35k, it's too much work to completely waste, so I will continue, onwards and upwards, anallat....

So, after the obligatory ramble, here is the opening of my NaNo. Be gentle - it's not formatted properly, it needs editing, probably has typos, and in truth, sucks (more than) a little bit. But that's what December is for, right? Fixing it up to make it the best it can possibly be. *nods*


Eleanor Gibson woke up to the persistent meowing of her cat. She groaned and buried herself a little deeper beneath the duvet, gently kicking her feline companion away from her.

“Muse, go away. I’ll feed you in a minute.”

Of course, telling her cat to go away wouldn’t work – it never did – but at least it gave Eleanor a few extra seconds of warmth. Or so she thought. A sharp digging sensation in the middle of Eleanor’s back was all it took to end those precious few seconds of comfort.

Grumbling under her breath, Eleanor threw the duvet into a messy heap on the floor and stood up, stretching and yawning as she did so.

“You could have left me a few moments longer, Muse. You know I had a rough night last night.”

Muse pricked her ears and walked away with her tail in the air.

“It’s alright for you,” continued Eleanor. “You don’t have to speak to my visitors.”

The previous evening had seen the (unwanted) weekly visit from her ex-stepmother. Christie Gibson was, in two words, A Bitch. She had crawled into Teddy Gibson’s life six months after Eleanor’s mother had died, and it had taken three years to get rid of her. Teddy woke up one day about three months after his hasty second marriage and realised that he had married a monster. Luckily, Eleanor had been able lend support to her somewhat dithering father, and by sending him away on a month-long cruise, had finally been able to persuade Christie to sign the divorce papers.

Well, maybe persuade was the wrong choice of word, but Eleanor had run out of reasonable ideas, so the somewhat strong coercion technique that she had used was, in her opinion, justified.

The trouble was, Christie was still angry, and she chose to vent this anger by calling upon her ex-stepdaughter every Monday.

“You owe me, Eleanor Gibson, and never forget it!”

Christie’s words came back and replayed themselves once again. If it wasn’t so annoying, Eleanor would be tempted to laugh. Christie had been uttering the same thing every week for the least eighteen months. At first it had been a little bit daunting, but now it was bordering on hysterical.


“Alright, alright, I’m coming!”

Eleanor tried to act cross, but honestly, Muse’s timely interruption was just what she needed. If she started the day cursing Christie, she wouldn’t get anywhere at all.  And….

“Oh crap!” she suddenly cried. “Photo shoot at 9am! Jake’ll kill me!”

Hastily emptying half a box of  cat biscuits into Muse’s dish, Eleanor dashed upstairs and headed for the shower.


Eleanor quickly ran for the elevator as soon as she reached the offices of Cardiff Mode. She loved working for a modelling agency, even though she knew that half the time she was simply the errand girl. There was something about the glamour that attracted her. Normally, Eleanor was a very practical young woman, but the world of modelling had always fascinated her.

Eleanor was short, skinny, and had an unremarkable face topped with a full head of extremely frizzy black hair. She had known from a very early age that she could never hope to be a model, but she hadn’t let that stop her from wanting to become a part of the modelling world.

After dreaming her way through school and Design College, Eleanor came away with no qualifications, but a heap of enthusiasm nonetheless. She had entered her present job right at the bottom of the career ladder. In fact, if she was honest with herself, she didn’t even have a foot on the first rung. But that was fine with her, she’d always been a solid ‘both feet firmly on the floor’ kind if girl anyway. Right now she was fetching drinks and making phone calls, but she was so efficient at these seemingly menial tasks that everyone at Cardiff Mode loved her.

Unfortunately, that included Derek Leeming, Cardiff Mode’s leading lecher.

“Looking gorgeous as always, Eleanor!”

“Thanks, Derek,” she replied, forcing a smile to her lips. Damn, why is he always there when the elevator doors open?  If Derek had had even an ounce of genuineness about him, she might have liked him. He was romance-novel handsome with his slightly too long dark wavy hair, pumped up biceps and slim hips, but unfortunately he was afflicted with a smarmy disposition. Derek was under the impression that all women adored him, when in fact most women tried to run in the opposite direction when they saw him.

“Heavy night last night, was it?” he drawled suggestively.

“Er, no, I’m just running a little late, that’s all. I’ll see you later, Derek, I really have to go.”

“Drinks at Harper’s after work?” he called at her retreating back. Eleanor pretended not to hear him and made a mental note to avoid Harper’s like the plague as soon as she finished her shift. She raced to Jake’s office and made it with two minutes to spare.

“Afternoon, Sunshine!”

“Jake, I’m so sorry! I had a heck of night last night….”

Jake waved his arms vaguely and Eleanor cut off her explanation, smiling gratefully at the man standing in front of her.

If ever there was a man worthy of drooling over, it was Jake Morrison. Jake had started out as a model and had been at the top of his game for four years before taking early retirement. He had thick blonde hair that teased the collar of his designer shirt, and his equally designer jeans hugged one of the cutest butts Eleanor had ever had the privilege of seeing.

Unfortunately, as well as being drop-dead gorgeous, Jake was also gay. Eleanor may have been tempted to try and change his mind, but one, that never worked in the real world, and two, Jake was seeing an equally gorgeous male by the name of Danny Butler. It had taken Eleanor a while to get over the disappointment of realising that the two most gorgeous men of her acquaintance were never going to look at her as anything more than a sister, but in the process she had made two of the best friends she had ever had.

“Have I told you lately that I love having you for a boss?” she sighed.

“Yesterday, I believe,” snorted Jake. “And I’m not your boss, anyway.”

“Every single person who works here is my boss, Jake,” she pointed out.

“Ah, that may be so, Sweetie, but you have to start somewhere.”

“I know. I’m not really complaining, Jake. I think I woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning.”

“Darling, you really need to try a new bed, it’ll do wonders for your state of happiness.”

“Jake, I don’t need a new bed.”

“Oh, not at your house, Sweetie, I mean someone else’s bed. You’ve been single for far too long.”

“Pish, not that again,” said Eleanor airily. “I’m fine the way I am.”

“Darling, having a cat for a bed mate is not my idea of ‘fine’. You need a nice strapping lad to fill the position. I’d lend you mine, but I’m not willing to share.”

“Shame,” teased Eleanor. “Anyway, as you’re my boss, shouldn’t you be ushering me towards the door round about now.”

“Nah, we’ve got plenty of time before Dumb and Dumber arrive.”

“Jake, you shouldn’t be calling Cardiff Mode’s two top models ‘Dumb’ and ‘Dumber’. Especially seeing as they are both far from being dumb. And I thought you told me nine o’clock?”

“I know, but it winds them up a treat, and I get lots of lovely smouldering looks when I’m clicking away. And I said nine because I need them here by ten. Brainier than the average blonde they may be, but they aren’t the best time-keepers.”

“Sly Jake, very sly.”

“As always, darling. Say, now that we have the time, what’s say we grab a coffee at Starbucks? They have a fabulous new muffin that I’m dying to try.”

Jake was a huge muffin fan, consequently Eleanor knew most of the staff at the neighbouring Starbucks by their first names. She also knew when they were trying out new muffins.

“Voila!” she said, pulling a paper bag from her fashionably large carry-all.

“Darling, I love you!” said Jake dramatically, grabbing the bag and blowing a kiss at her.

“And here I thought it was me you truly loved,” sighed Danny as he entered the office. “Ooh, are those muffins?”

Eleanor giggled as both men reached into the bag and extracted a still-warm muffin each, biting into them simultaneously and sighing blissfully.

“What’s the occasion?” asked Danny, finishing his muffin in three quick bites and reaching for another.

“I missed breakfast,” replied Eleanor, quickly grabbing a muffin for herself before they all disappeared.

“Oh darling, I forgot, it’s Tuesday! No wonder you were late,” said Jake in his best brotherly-concern voice. “And how was Agatha?”

Eleanor rolled her eyes and snorted at the same time. Ever since Jake had learned the name of her ex-stepmother, he had taken to calling her ‘Agatha’. Obviously, the link with the famous author had been evident, but Jake had coined the nick-name primarily because being called ‘Agatha’ drove Christie up the wall.

“Same as usual,” she said.

“Sweetie, have another muffin,” said Jake gravely. “You need it more than I do.”

“You really have to do something about her, Ella,” added Danny. Jake and Danny had decided that ‘Eleanor’ was too serious a name for their friend, and had dutifully renamed her ‘Ella’ in the spirit of keeping her ‘young’.

“I know,” replied Eleanor. “I shouldn’t let her get to me. Usually its water off a duck’s back, but last night she was even more annoying than normal.”

“There aren’t enough muffins,” stage-whispered Jake. “We’re going to need emergency back-up.”

“Malteasers?” Danny whispered back.

“Oh, definitely. In the bottom drawer.”

“Oh dear, do I look that stressed?” asked Eleanor.

“You look gorgeous, darling, as always. This is for your inner beauty. We like you better when you are happy and beautiful on the inside as well as the outside. And nothing brings happiness like a chocolate-covered ball.”

“Speak for yourself,” said Eleanor, and was rewarded with two matching wicked grins.

Danny pulled out a large box of Malteasers from behind Jake’s desk and shoved them beneath Eleanor’s nose.

“There’s still over half an hour before we have to leave,” said Jake. “Tuck into those, and we’ll soon have you feeling tickety-boo.”

Grinning widely, Eleanor did as she was bid.


*swallows nervously*


  1. Great drawing Ana! And excellent story start, Tara! I like it! Nice set up and intro of characters!

    It's JK Rowling that channels me but I haven't figured out how to profit yet...

  2. Hahaha, it's definitely NOT an excellent story start, Tami, but I COMPLETELY agree that Ana's drawing is great! It's nuts how she managed to picture Eleanor exactly as I do, and the cat too.... *cue spooky music*